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Early December 2020 


Celebrating the work of current & past Obermann scholars and friends 
  • Caroline Tolbert (Political Science) and Michael Ritter (Graduate Institute, 2017) published Accessible Elections: How the States Can Help Americans Vote (Oxford University Press, 2020).
  • Jennifer Teitle (HPG Advisory Board, 2019-21) was awarded a Board of Regents Staff Excellence Award.
  • Kembrew McLeod (Fellow-in-Residence, 2008) and Steven Ungar (Fellow-in-Residence, 2013) were awarded Michael J. Brody Awards for Faculty Excellence in Service.
  • Amy Kristof-Brown, longtime friend of the Obermann Center, has been appointed Dean of the Tippie College of Business.
  • Hao Zhou (Graduate Institute, 2021) won first place in International Programs' 2020 photo contest in the Student Experience category.  
  • Andrew Boge (HPG Summer Intern) was selected as the University of Iowa's nomination for the Mellon-funded Humanities Without Walls Summer Pre-Doctoral Workshop.
Trevor Harvey_ Rene Rocha_ Nathan Platte
"Podcasting at Iowa and Beyond" This Friday, 12/4
Meet UI podcasters, learn about spring 2021 series

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While podcasting was already wildly popular, 2020 seems to have been tailor-made for its even greater success. As the pandemic has moved us online and physically apart, podcasts have pulled in listeners with their intimacy, and the social and political upheaval has made many of us hungry to learn from a diverse array of experts and creatives about what to make of our current world. 

This spring, Laura Perry, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, is hosting a new series about podcasting as part of Humanities for the Public Good (a collaboration between the Obermann Center, the UI Graduate College, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation). Laura will introduce the series in a December 4 event, "Podcasting at Iowa and Beyond." The virtual discussion is free and open to all, but registration is required.

In advance of this discussion, we interviewed three UI faculty members who have hosted or produced podcasts. Trevor Harvey (Music), Rene Rocha (Political Science and Latino/a/x Studies), and Nathan Platte (Music and Cinematic Arts) share their experiences using podcasts as teaching tools, pull back the curtain on production, and reflect on how their podcasts and research interact. They also share some of their favorite podcasts (Dolly Parton, anyone?).
People conversing at Obermann table
Bilingual Education Focus of Obermann Around the Table
On Dec. 9, writer and scholar will consider the nuances of bilingualism

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"Here's a truth a lot of first-generation kids grew up with. They assume they're smarter than their parents." So begins an excerpt from Chuy Renteria's memoir-in-progress. The native of West Liberty and published author, performer, dancer, and Hancher's Public Engagement Coordinator will kick off this second installation in our new Obermann Around the Table series.

On Wednesday, December 9, at 7:00 p.m., Renteria will read from his memoir, and UI linguistics professor Christine Shea will give a short talk about how people who speak more than one language acquire, organize, and store their linguistic knowledge. Her research asks how bilingual and bicultural individuals maintain languages such as Spanish in an English-dominant society. Participants will then join facilitated conversation groups. We hope this series will help connect people in our local community and beyond as we explore issues affecting the fabric of our communities together.

Free and open to all. Read more on our website and register below!

This event is co-sponsored by Latina/o/x Studies, the UI Latinx Council, and the Obermann Center.
Abstract collage
Obermann Graduate Institute Fellows
Meet the 2021 cohort 

A new group of UI graduate students whose home departments include Medicine, Higher Education and Student Affairs, and History will gather this January as the first-ever virtual class of the Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy. This year's Institute is co-led by Andrew W. Mellon Humanities for the Public Good Postdoctoral Fellows Ashley Cheyemi-McNeil and Laura Perry, who are helping the Obermann Center community consider how the longstanding program can be incorporated into a new PhD program.

A warm congratulations and welcome to the 2021 cohort:
  • Ebenezer Adeyemi (Anthropology) 
  • Nicole Amato (Language, Literacy, & Culture)
  • Antonio Alejandro PĂ©rez Belda (Language, Literacy, & Culture)
  • Luke Borland (History)
  • Laura Carpenter (American Studies) 
  • Elizabeth Fry (Public Health)
  • Mitchell Hooyer (Medicine)
  • Lauren Irwin (Educational Policy & Leadership Studies)
  • Angelina Malenda (Communication Studies)
  • Hansini Munasinghe (Sociology)
  • Hoshik Nam (Political Science)
  • Sanjna Singh (Nonfiction Writing Program)
  • Emilie Sommers (Clinical Mental Health Counseling)
  • Adelheid Bethanny Sudibyo (Spanish & Portuguese)
  • Hao Zhou (Cinematic Arts)
The Graduate Institute is co-sponsored by the UI Graduate College and the Obermann Center.
Every little bit helps
Giving on Campus and in Our Community

There are so many ways to give this season. We'd like to highlight two of them that are especially dear to our hearts. 

The Food Pantry at Iowa is participating in National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week from November 16 through 20. Food accessibility and affordability are very important for college students to survive, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and to concentrate in classes. We believe that no UI student, faculty, or staff member should have to go hungry or sacrifice a healthy diet. Donate to the Food Pantry by taking nonperishable food items, baking products, and hygiene products to the Iowa Memorial Union Welcome Center during open hours. Monetary donations can be made online. 


Neighborhood NESTS is a program started last summer in response to the challenges faced by local K12 students who are struggling with virtual and hybrid learning. It is run by a group of Johnson County nonprofits: 4Cs, NCJC, United Action for Youth, Dream City, and Open Heartland. Program management is being provided by an Obermann Spelman Rockefeller Community Scholar. $38 helps an ICCSD student receive tutoring, social-emotional support, and/or childcare. Monetary donations can be made online.